Cleaning Items

With over a foot of snow at our house and temperatures in the 30’s, camping season has been on hold for us for over a month now. After our last vacation of the season, the after-trip clean up was especially important to keep our trailer fresh and in good condition for the duration of the off season. Having a good cleaning routine after each trip can really save you time and stress, as well as keep you prepared for your next getaway.

Though each of us may have our own unique cleaning needs for our RV, I’ve put together a summary of my basic cleaning routine to help you keep your home away from home spic and span in no time. Check out my RV Cleaning Checklist printable at the end of this article!

While there are a few “neat freaks” in this world who actually enjoy the process of cleaning, this is not the case for most of us. And since your RV was most likely purchased for recreation and vacationing, time spent cleaning it, while necessary, can easily be kept short and sweet. By keeping up on cleaning after each use you can save yourself time and effort by getting to the grit and grime without all the elbow grease.

1. REMOVE

Start by removing all soiled items or those that need washing after your trip. This will include dirty clothes, bath or hand towels, wash cloths, kitchen rags, bedding, dishes, etc. Then remove all perishable items from the fridge, freezer, cabinets and shelves. Next return to your house all items that don’t permanently belong in your trailer - specialty clothing, shoes, or entertainment items brought for your specific vacation, as well as anything acquired or purchased while on your trip.

2. CLEAN

At your convenience return all items to their proper place in the house and wash/launder all soiled items from your RV.

With excess items out of the way now is the time to get to cleaning your RV. While the list may look long, each item takes such little time since your RV, while spacious, is a relatively small space. With cleaning it’s always best to work from top to bottom so that anything that falls to the floor during the process is properly cleaned at the end.


Wash items you are bringing in from the RV

KITCHEN: Begin by doing a quick check of your cabinets, shelves microwave, freezer and refrigerator and wipe as needed. Next spray and wipe all counter tops in the kitchen, the dinette, and stovetop and clean the sink clearing any food from the sink strainers. As needed wipe out the oven as well.

*When turning off your fridge/freezer between uses, take measures to ensure the doors are kept ajar. Dealing first hand with doors falling shut, causing mold and requiring extensive cleaning and disinfecting, have led our family to prop open the doors with clamps between uses to keep this from recurring.

BATHROOM: Spray and wipe the mirror and then move on to the counters, sink, tub/shower, and toilet. Without being connected to water I find I simply spray the toilet with disinfecting spray and let it sit. Then I use a cleaning rag and paper towels to wipe out the toilet. If you too are disconnected from water remember to use a cleaning product that does not require rinsing.

OTHER: Spot check windows and other areas for cleaning as needed.

PETS: If you travel with pets now is the time to ensure their food and water are properly cleaned/contained, the litterbox cleaned, etc. If needed use lint rollers or a vacuum/pet vacuum to remove fur left behind on furniture.

FLOORS: Sweep/vacuum flooring and follow with a quick wipe down with a mop, Swiffer or simply a wet cleaning rag.


Sweeping goes faster with a little help

Empty trash and put in a new bag. Wash cleaning rags.

3. RESTORE

Once your RV has been properly cleaned, take a quick inventory of all the supplies normally kept in your trailer. This may include paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, napkins, plates, bowls, cups and plastic utensils, etc), toiletries (toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, soap, cotton swabs, sun screen, etc), pantry staples (spices, canned food, etc), and more. Restock any low or depleted items so they’re available for your next trip.

Return all washed and laundered items needed in your RV. Make beds, hang towels, and put away dishes. With all this done you should be all set for your next adventure- wherever that may take you.

Once your RV has been properly cleaned, take a quick inventory of all the supplies normally kept in your trailer. This may include paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, napkins, plates, bowls, cups and plastic utensils, etc), toiletries (toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, soap, cotton swabs, sun screen, etc), pantry staples (spices, canned food, etc), and more. Restock any low or depleted items so they’re available for your next trip.

Return all washed and laundered items needed in your RV. Make beds, hang towels, and put away dishes. With all this done you should be all set for your next adventure- wherever that may take you.


TIPS TO HELP YOUR CLEANING PROCESS:

• Store cleaning products in your RV at all times

Keep yourself from dragging in a bunch of cleaning gear time and time again. I recommend keeping a small cleaning caddy with your preferred cleaning products and some microfiber cloths. We keep a broom in our trailer at all times too for use throughout and at the end of each trip. If you have one available to you, a small handheld vacuum may be nice to have on hand so you don’t have to bring in a large vacuum for a small stretch of carpet space.

*Remember if you do decide to keep cleaning products in your RV, to keep them carefully secured if you have pets or small children. You may also want to consider using natural cleaning products for extra safety measures as well.

• Have trash cans and hampers/dirty laundry bags in your RV located wherever these commonly pile up for your family. This will save you time when you need to remove or haul these items out of the trailer after your trip.

• Create a spot for “RV returns” in your home

To make sure everything gets returned to it’s proper place, having a shelf or bin in your home dedicated to items needing to return to your RV can be a big help in corralling these items without causing clutter in your home while they await their return to your trailer.



I hope this cleaning outline helps you streamline your cleaning process the next time around. Use the printable RV Cleaning Checklist to help yourself spend less time cleaning and more time relaxing. Any areas you focus your cleaning attention on that I haven’t listed? Write them in the comments below.

Emily Helgeson
Author: Emily Helgeson
Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and son in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family.

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